Definition of inert in English:



  • 1Lacking the ability or strength to move.

    ‘she lay inert in her bed’
    • ‘He glanced over his shoulder, then spun completely around to stare at the inert body crumpled on the asphalt a few feet behind him.’
    • ‘‘We're looking for people who in 15 minutes can make an inert audience move,’ explains Jonny Rocket, who, with his wife Lisa, has organised the free event.’
    • ‘Another man strode by with the inert body of a young child in his arms.’
    • ‘Two hours later, we watched through glass as her inert body was wheeled into the intensive care recovery.’
    • ‘It's long been suggested that Britain is a country of inert fools who do nothing more than sit in front of the TV.’
    unmoving, motionless, immobile, still, stock-still, stationary, static, dormant, sleeping
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Lacking vigor.
      ‘an inert political system’
      • ‘So is it just an unwillingness on the part of an inert legal community in this country that the jury system has not been adequately researched?’
      • ‘Our political parties are inert, and that's the reason behind the emergence of the radical groups which are filling in the political vacuum.’
      • ‘After all, the image of politically inert women reinforces cherished myths about motherhood.’
      • ‘Yet post-modern politics is remarkably inert in the face of the challenge of constructing a new kind of state.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, the intention is to turn whole command and control agencies into passive, inert organisms.’
      lethargic, enervated, lackadaisical, spiritless, unenergetic, lifeless, vigourless, lacking energy, limp, effete
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Chemically inactive.
      • ‘In fact, a large proportion of carcinogens is chemically inert and requires metabolic activation to exert their detrimental effects.’
      • ‘By surrounding hot metals with inert argon, the metals are protected from potential oxidation by oxygen in the air.’
      • ‘Intramolecular forces in the chlorobenzene backbone of the polymer create a strong film that is chemically inert to acid, base, and ketone exposure.’
      • ‘Niobium is a relatively inert element, although it does react with oxygen and concentrated acids at high temperatures.’
      • ‘Bromine even reacts with relatively inert elements such as platinum and palladium.’
      • ‘Mars's atmosphere is completely inert, no chemical reactions could go on there.’
      • ‘Because it is chemically inert, helium was not identified on Earth until some time later, in 1895.’
      • ‘If some of the components of this system chemically react with each other then the inert substance dispersing the reactants is the inert solvent.’
      • ‘Normally it is said that gold has no biochemical purpose, because it is chemically inert.’
      • ‘Fluorine is so reactive that it forms compounds with the noble gases, which were thought to be chemically inert.’
      • ‘The nitrogen we breathe is chemically inert and takes no part in the chemical or metabolic reactions in the body.’
      • ‘Furthermore, the rapid expansion of cold gases forced hot, oxygenated air from the waste pile and replaced it with chemically inert nitrogen and carbon dioxide.’
      • ‘Neon is the second element in Group 18 of the periodic table, a group of elements known as the inert or noble gases.’
      • ‘Precious metals are elements that are rare in the Earth's crust, are attractive to look at, and are chemically quite inert.’
      • ‘Both types of polymer contain strong C-F bonds and are thermally stable, chemically inert and ‘non-stick’, because of the low affinity of fluorine for other materials.’
      • ‘Airborne CFCs, which were relatively inert near Earth's surface, were being decomposed by sunlight in the upper atmosphere, releasing free chlorine atoms.’
      • ‘Like other elements in Group 18, krypton is chemically inert.’
      • ‘But a fine grain of plutonium - a chemically inert metal - never dissolves.’
      • ‘Since argon is chemically inert, there is no tissue carbonization.’
      • ‘Gases that reach the stratosphere can remain there for many years, particularly if they are chemically inert.’
      chemically inactive
      View synonyms


Mid 17th century: from Latin iners, inert- ‘unskilled, inactive’, from in- (expressing negation) + ars, art- ‘skill, art’.